Women given hygiene kits in Sindh's prisons, shelters

SCSW highlights rise in gender-based violence during lockdown

​ Our Correspondent May 31, 2020

KARACHI: The Sindh Commission on the Status of Women (SCSW) distributed hygiene kits for coronavirus among the female police officials, prisoners and workers at shelter homes with the help of Oxfam Pakistan.

According to a statement released by the commission on Saturday, upon seeing the severity of the coronavirus outbreak in prisons across the country, SCSW had arranged 500 hygiene kits for women in prisons and shelter homes to help protect them against the contagious disease.

Moreover, the commission observed that though there had been a surge in gender-based violence (GBV) since the lockdown was imposed, many victims were turned away by shelter homes due to the fear of virus transmission.

“The kits were distributed to protect our frontline female workers, who include police officers and shelter home administration staff, as well as the survivors of [domestic] violence, as it was reported that the victims of GBV were not allowed to enter shelter homes,” the statement read.

Expressing gratitude towards Oxfam Pakistan, SCSW said that 319 kits were distributed in women’s police stations, prisons, and protection cells, while 181 were handed over to Panah and four government-owned shelter homes in the first round in Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, and Larkana.

In the second round, additional hygiene kits are to be distributed in the remaining women’s prisons in Sukkur, Larkana, and Hyderabad, police stations in Matiari, protection cells in Hyderabad and Sukkur, and a district safehouse in Dadu.

The kits, which include face masks, sanitiser, sanitary pads and other items, were distributed among the women police officers and prisoners in the presence of Karachi AIG Ghulam Nabi Memon, three zonal DIGs, the women’s prison DIG and SHOs.

Expressing the hope that these hygiene kits would help curb the spread of coronavirus in prisons and shelter homes, the statement stressed the need to develop concrete gender-specific policies to control violence against women during the pandemic.

The SCSW added that the authorities should take necessary measures to improve women’s health and empower them financially.

The commission intends to consult civil society organisations, experts and stakeholders for developing recommendations for the Sindh government in order to address the needs of women at times of emergency.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2020.


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